Something I - Brannan, founder of FOV - but more than that the chick who sort of eats, sleeps, and breathes this work and mission because somehow, amazingly and thankfully, this mission/passion/calling found me almost a decade ago and has become the most amazing adventure I could have never imagined - feel guilty about sort of 24x7 right now.
I'm not sure I could catch you up completely on our personal life - the rather chaotic mess of daily survival - that the hubby, kiddo, and I are currently trying to nudge our way through (and have been for well... probably more than a year at this point).
The short list:
Our finally-found-deeply-liked-actually-could-get-the-hubby-to-listen primary doc at the VA retired and was replaced by a complete idiot (I don't use those words lightly and am not typically a "personal attacks" type of chick, but ohhhhhhhh my) who then so very helpfully told my dear husband who regularly has major paranoia about the VA trying to kill him via his Meds that leads to a constant battle to get him to take anything consistently that he (the hubby) was probably right that he shouldn't take his Meds. (I do think the doctor actually meant that no one should overtake medications... But well, noooooot how it "translated").
My mom, the person who sort of was the "fixer" in my world... who somehow, inexplicably managed to reach into tough times and soften them in ways I didn't fully notice ... took her trip to heaven after a lengthy battle with cancer.
My own somewhat under control neurological condition suddenly became a mess of anything but "controlled” and has netted me several surgeries, hospital "vacays", and a daily mess of trying to think clearly through ... Well... Almost anything.
Our amazing, incredible kiddo is approaching the "tweens" and has been struggling with depression and figuring out her way in the world amidst our... Uhm... Less than conventional world.
The hubby's wonderful, amazing Vietnam friend - sort of our own personal mentor in this messy life after combat - died unexpectedly.
Shilo, my hero's so smart, so sweet, so perfect service dog developed a sort of major disorder. And with the hubby's struggles, my own sooooo less than able to manage all the moving parts challenges, and all the other chaos at the moment, we can't seem to get her well. We aren't consistent enough, we aren't on "top" of things enough. And so, because we love her, we are letting her go - back to the incredible organization she came from (and her trainer who will help her get well and then find her another family to help).
I could actually keep adding to that list for a few thousand more words, but you get the point.
Basically, almost every piece that was in place that helped us manage this after-combat life has vanished in the last 12 or so months.
And I had so much more ... Well... EVERYTHING when I first started getting those pieces in place 9 years ago. But now I find myself in those quiet, dark moments struggling to see a way through... a way to get the hubby back on his feet, get myself physically well, nudge the kiddo forward on the path in front of her, and all the other endless broken pieces that seem to be endlessly swirling out of control at the moment.
But the long and short of it... Of these lives we lead... Is that I don't have a choice.
I have to fight-pray-will-struggle-beg our way through. I have to stand, figure out how to put the "falling apart" back together again, and keep moving until I believe that's possible.
I know many of you will read this and completely get exactly what I'm saying. For us and for the heroes and kiddo's we live, combat never ends. Sure it looks different... Our battlefields and the wars we wage on them change almost as quickly as we conquer them.
But loss is not an option. It's not in us, and if it ever was these lives quickly build a "never give up, never stop" thread into the fabric of who we are. And so, we fight. We fall apart. And we fight again.
Heroes and families - the literally thousands of them that I have met or talked to in my years in this work - are some of the most inspiring-unseen-unbelievable-amazing people any could know. But unfortunately for those of us in these "trenches" those qualities are far too often refined under strains and hardships we never imagined enduring yet somehow still have to find a way through.
And we will. I will. We all will. Somehow. Always. <3